DHS, SBA, GSA IT Executives on cloud-based telework challenges

“When federal agencies pivoted to remote work in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they faced an overwhelming number of options for cloud-based collaboration tools.

Agencies picked tools that worked best for them, but some then faced configuration problems when trying to speak to each other. Some also faced internal communication issues across components and directorates — which then created security challenges.

‘Early in the pandemic, I coined the term “teleconference wars,”’ said James Saunders, CISO for the Small Business Administration, at the ATARC 2021 Cloud Summit this week. Saunders was referring to Microsoft Teams, Cisco, Webex, Zoom and Skype all competing for federal use. ‘Some security policies were different than others, it was very hit or miss and dodgy early on. Not all Microsoft Teams environments can talk to each other. If I were to reach out to [Department of Homeland Security], sometimes our teams are a little bit incompatible where I might not be able to show my video, but I can talk at least, so that’s something we’re trying to solve now.’…”

“’I took a good hard look at [Microsoft] Teams, but when I realized they had different configurations and not all of them can talk to each other, I said “oh my goodness, no,”’ said Thomas Santucci, director of the Data Center and Cloud Optimization Initiative at GSA. ‘GSA was very telework friendly before the pandemic. We’re all using our internet connection now to go directly to the cloud — there is no security layer. We’re adopting TIC 3.0, and that will help significantly [with security].’

To assist other federal agencies looking for more cloud-based collaboration tool options, GSA quickly ‘FedRAMPed’ Zoom.gov for federal use…” Read the full article here.

Source: Agencies Open Up About Cloud-Based Telework Tools, Challenges – By Kate Macri, February 5, 2021. GovernmentCIO.

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